Mindful feeding: A pathway between parenting style and child eating behaviors

Lynnel C. Goodman, Lindsey T. Roberts, Dara R. Musher-Eizenman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Certain child eating behaviors (e.g., food fussiness, emotional overeating, and disruptive mealtime behaviors) can create challenges for caregivers and result in short- and long-term health consequences (e.g., lower fruit and vegetable intake, a deficiency of essential nutrients, greater intake of energy-dense foods and sugary beverages, and/or higher BMI) for the children. The role of mindful feeding—cultivating a present-centered awareness in the feeding context to increase parents’ awareness of their own responsive (and non-responsive) feeding behaviors—has not been explored as it relates to parenting and children's problematic eating behaviors. The objective of this study was to understand whether the relations between parenting style and child eating behaviors often documented in the literature are mediated by mindful feeding. Using self-reports from Amazon's Mechanical Turk (MTurk) of 496 mothers and fathers of young children (age 2–7 years old), we explored whether mindful feeding mediates the relation between parenting style and child eating behaviors. As hypothesized, authoritative parenting was related to higher rates of mindful feeding (β = .16, 95% C.I. [.05, .18]), while authoritarian (β = −.34, 95% C.I. [-.32, -.17]) and permissive parenting (β = -.15, 95% C.I. [-.18, -.05]) were related to lower rates of mindful feeding. Mindful feeding mediated the relation between each parenting style and each child eating behavior (i.e., food fussiness, problematic mealtime behaviors, and emotional overeating). These findings suggest that that mindful feeding may be a promising new construct, and its relation to feeding interventions aimed at improving problematic child eating behaviors should be further evaluated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number101335
JournalEating Behaviors
StatePublished - Jan 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Child eating behavior
  • Feeding
  • Mindfulness
  • Parenting
  • Parenting style

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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